Foster appreciates versatility of teaching

Published 11:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2023

By Emily Burleigh

American Press

Sulphur native Lisa Foster – a 50-year-old English teacher at Sulphur High School – discovered a love for teaching while she was in graduate school.

Foster earned her bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University in Educational Psychology and a secondary degree in English Education.

She decided to continue her education, and was pursuing a Master’s degree in Education Psychology when she relocated to Baton Rouge with her husband. After moving, she decided to teach while pursuing her graduate degree.

She got her first teaching gig at Hosanna Christian Academy, a private school in Baton Rouge. It was there that Foster discovered her passion.

“The more time I spent in the classroom, I knew my calling was to be a teacher.”

She has now taught English for 26 years. She moved back to the area after three years in Baton Rouge. She taught at Vinton High School for seven years before moving to Sulphur High School, where she has been teaching since 2007.

Foster appreciates the versatility of her career. Educators walk into their schools every morning knowing that they will face new and unexpected challenges.

“Education is unique in that it has a different environment every day,” she explained. “Although the routine is the same, the experiences are constantly changing. Some days are highly structured and on other days, the students guide the learning.”

While it is paramount for teachers to create healthy relationships with their students, this task is sometimes difficult. Foster recognizes the importance of this task, and the role it plays in promoting student learning. “I never take for granted the responsibility I have to gain their trust, so I can hopefully impart a sense of accomplishment, self-worth and ambition.”

Foster creates these relationships and curates a nurturing educational environment with the simple philosophy, “Everyone is important.”

The environment of the classroom is especially important for student growth. “Students should be in an environment that promotes safety for them to learn, grow and dream.”

The effort that she puts forth is worth it for Foster, as she feels fulfillment when her students succeed. “The greatest reward is the A-ha moment when a student understands a concept that always seemed difficult.”

Education is a two-way street. “They remind me daily we are a team… I am only one half of the equation. We need each other to be successful.”

This is especially when teaching high school. “High school students are the same as elementary students, they love to share their life experiences,” she explained. “They are constantly teaching me the value of kindness and respect.”

Foster believes teachers, faculty and staff are stakeholders in the community. “The future of not only the community, but society, sits in countless classrooms daily,” she said. “It is where they learn how to be responsible, charitable and accountable citizens.”

Teachers should be aware of this responsibility, and “never take for granted the gift of someone’s child in your classroom,” she said.

“If you pour into their lives, the returns are tenfold.”